you plan to visit Etna in the near future?
The Etna telecamera is maintained by the "Sistema Poseidon" and there is no relationship of any kind with this site and its author. The Poseidon web site is in Italian, and the link to the telecamera is changed frequently, so that it is not indicated here (click on "Etna live cam" on the Poseidon home page). Please note also that all information provided on the present page (and the archived Etna news pages) is informal, based on personal observations, and is not intended to substitute, or compete with, the news bulletins now issued regularly at the Poseidon web site.
Do you look for books or videos about volcanoes, volcanology, or in particular Mount Etna? Find and buy them at Amazon.com!
These ads help to keep this site alive. Click on them to give a small contribution without paying anything (but for each click-through purchase made through the first and last links the contribution will be larger!)
NOTE. The most recent update (16 January 2001) is at the bottom of this page!.
9 January 2001 update.
has been no new eruptive activity at the summit craters of Etna since
early December. All that has happened was the emission of gas from
the Bocca Nuova, often condensing with white vapor (when the air was
more humid). Beginning on 7 January 2001, the degassing from this
crater has become more rhythmic, indicating that some explosive activity
may be occurring deep in the conduit(s). Also, the Southeast Crater
continues to emit heat. An incandescent fumarole continues to exist
high on its southeastern flank, and following snowfalls, the snow
rapidly melted on the southern and eastern flanks of the cone. By
the way, very little snow has fallen so far on the mountain during
this winter, and the expected skiing season has until now been a disaster.
Before Christmas and again after New Year's Day, Catania enjoyed spring-like
weather, with persistent clear sky and temperatures up to 25 degrees
Celsius. This is the mildest winter recorded in recent years, and
to this has to be added that the sparse rainfalls have caused a serious
lack of fresh water in many areas of Sicily.
11 January 2001 update.
crisis of 9 January on the southeastern flank of Etna ended that same
day after more than 50 shocks, most of them too small to be felt,
had been registered by the seismic monitoring network. At least three
of the tremors measured 3.0 or more on the Richter scale, and several
were distinctly felt by the population of a large area between Nicolosi,
Fornazzo and Catania. Cracks opened in the walls of numerous buildings,
but only one uninhabited building in Zafferana partially collapsed.
Many people who remembered the much more severe earthquakes of October
1984 (which killed two people and damaged almost all buildings in
Zafferana and Fleri) left their homes, and some preferred to sleep
in emergency shelters which were installed that same morning.
12 January 2001 update. On the evening of 11 January, very weak Strombolian activity was observed at the Bocca Nuova after one month of no activity. This activity was not visible to the naked eye, but Giuseppe Scarpinati was able to recognize it with the help of a night viewing amplifying telescope. Small bursts occurred at intervals of about 2 minutes, presumably from the eastern vent of the crater. A few hours earlier another earthquake (Magnitude 2.8) had occurred on the southeastern flank of Etna, in the same area affected by a swarm of more than 50 earthquakes on 9 January.
15 January 2001 update. Very intense degassing is occurring at the Bocca Nuova and at the Southeast Crater as of noon on 15 January, and gas seems to be coming also from the northern and southern flanks of the Southeast Crater cone. Researchers of the Dipartimento di Scienze Geologiche at Catania University reported to have heard detonations during the late forenoon. Clouds of white gas have also been observed expanding horizontally at the southern base of the Southeast Crater cone, which might be indicative of flowing lava. Visual observations are made difficult by bad weather, but what has been described above might be signs of a reawakening of the Southeast Crater after more than four months of quiet (if the emission of a very small lava flow from the fissure on its northern flank in late November and early December is not considered). So what may happen? If the Southeast Crater becomes active again, it might return to produce episodes of very violent eruptive activity with tall lava fountains, tephra columns and modest lava flows. Similar paroxysms occurred sixty-six times in 2000 and caused heavy tephra falls over many sectors of the volcano. The latest of these events occurred on 29 August 2000, only 24 hours after a stronger paroxysm, which followed two months of inactivity at the crater.
16 January 2001 update.
activity appears to be resuming at the Southeast Crater after one
and a half month of inactivity. After nightfall on 16 January, very
weak Strombolian bursts occurred at intervals of 5-10 minutes at the
summit vent of the crater. The crater had emitted more gas than usually
from its summit vent and from the southern flank of its cone throughout
the day. Strong gas emissions, at times mixed with some ash, also
occurred at the Bocca Nuova, and it is possible that Strombolian activity
is occurring deep within its two vents.
19 January 2001 update.
is based on visual observations made by Francesca Ghisetti (Dipartimento
di Scienze Geologiche, University of Catania) from her home at Guardia,
near Acireale, to the SW of Etna, on the morningo 18 January.
23 January 2001 update.
lava flow extending from the fissure on the N flank of the SE Crater
has been observed on 21 and 22 January during clear weather. Observations
were made by Giuseppe Scarpinati (Italian delegate of the Paris-based
Européenne, L.A.V.E.) with the aid of a telescope and a
night light amplification viewer from his home in Acireale. The first
direct observation of the flow was made on the morning of 21 January
after sunrise, when it was seen as a dark streak contrasting against
the freshly fallen snow, and extending about 100 m towards the Valle
del Bove. Steam was emitted from the sides of the flow, but its front
appeared to be stagnating. On the evening of 22 January the flow was
incandescent along its whole length and its front was actively advancing,
with blocks tumbling frequently further down the steep slope. No explosive
activity was observed at the fissure, but a fumarole high on the SE
side of the SE Crater cone had become more luminous, and a weak persistent
incancescence was also seen at the Bocca Nuova.
Several other web pages covering the recent and ongoing eruptions of the Southeast Crater are now available; these contain photos and movie clips of some of the most spectacular moments of that period.
© Boris Behncke, "Italy's Volcanoes: The Cradle of Volcanology"
Page set up on 27 May 1997, last modified on 23 January 2001